Red House Painters ? Mark Kozelek ? Sun Kil Moon ? Which band or artist were really playing tonight ? Well, truth is that all these different identities actually hide Mark Kozelek who has been/is the sole leader of these different names.
For those not familiar with that name, you should know that Mr. K. has been a major artist now for around twenty-five years. Although one could blame him for doing the same depressed folk grungey kind of song, one has to recognize first that this same song is particularly beautiful, funny, moving and greatly melodic and secondly that Mark Kozelek has brought changes recently in his music, playing with different peers (please refer to our 2013 Best of list where the man was particularly well represented). For this blog, this man is unmissable and number 75 in our all-times TOP 100.
Tonight he was supposed to play as a trio with Steve Shelley formerly from Sonic Youth on drums but the guys were actually… four and Steve Shelley replaced by another excellent drummer.
All four men were playing seated down and the use of cell phones or cameras to take pictures was not encouraged to say the least, hence this only one I took during the final song of the show.
That was my second time in seeing the great man and my feeling was the same in front of him as the first time : he can be at the same time very funny, full of charisma in a American-style of behaviour whilst showing at the same time a huge fragility and the fact he is not the most at-ease person ever where human relationships are concerned.
The 2-hour long show was beautiful, mixing up mainly songs from his new “Benji” album and other ones from his LP’s of the last three years. Although the stories are sometimes quite depressing (mainly about deaths of former next of kin), there is always humour and beauty in these songs (a bit like the 80’s/90’s British movies that directors Ken Loach or Stephen Frears used to do in their prime years). The only usual regret is that he very rarely plays old masterpiece songs from his Red House Painters old times. Despite him complaining that there were too many middle-aged men in the audience (which was true!) and that people on the balcony were watching him in a scary Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes wide-shut” kind of way, even when young girls were requesting such songs, his answer was not really positive.
Very moving show overall and listen to his new “Benji” LP (cover above) while listening to the words if you want to know more about the guy and discover his fantastic music.